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In June, Amoroso helped Levinsohn recruit a high-profile Google executive named Michael Barrett into Yahoo.
During the recruiting process, Amoroso promised Barrett that Levinsohn’s “interim” title was only temporary — that it was safe to leave Google.
Wolf, a former president of MTV, was consulting for Third Point on media investments when Loeb asked him to join the Yahoo board and lead its search committee for a new CEO. It was going to be a doozy, as he planned to seriously alter the direction of Yahoo.
He wanted it to stop competing with technology businesses like Google and Microsoft and focus entirely on competing with media and content businesses like Disney, Time Warner, and News Corporation.
There was chief financial officer Tim Morse, who’d just completed a critical, company-saving deal to sell a portion of Yahoo subsidiary Alibaba. veteran whom Levinsohn had hired to run Yahoo’s media business.
And there was Mollie Spillman, whom he’d just made CMO.
Finally, late Sunday night, Levinsohn got a call from a friend of his at Google. The board had indeed already made Mayer an offer by the time Levinsohn went into that final meeting to present his plan for Yahoo.
This person asked: Had Levinsohn heard that Marissa Mayer had interviewed for the Yahoo job the Wednesday prior? After the news broke in public, Levinsohn admitted to friends that he was disappointed.
Levinsohn told the board that, under his direction, Heckman had begun negotiating a deal with Microsoft to exchange Yahoo’s search business for Microsoft’s portal, MSN.com, and large payments in cash.
Over the weekend, Levinsohn played a guessing game with venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, Square CEO Jack Dorsey, and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo.
With each of them, Levinsohn and the other Silicon Valley bigwigs ran through a long list of names, trying to figure out who might be getting the job Levinsohn had so hoped for.
All of them believed that the meeting was a formality — that Levinsohn was going to get the job. For the two months prior, the chairman of Yahoo’s board, Fred Amoroso, had made it clear that he was going to do everything he could to make sure Levinsohn and his team would be running the company for the foreseeable future. He told Yahoo employees this during an all-hands meeting in May.
He’d even joined a sales call to express support for Levinsohn to Yahoo advertisers — an oddly hands-on move for a chairman.
Loeb ran a hedge fund called Third Point, which owned more than 5 percent of Yahoo and had, only months before, forced the resignation of Yahoo’s previous CEO.